5 things marketers can learn from Miley Cyrus

Since Miley Cyrus’ stunt at this years VMA’s she’s been everywhere – TV, radio and talked about on blogs and social media worldwide. It’s been a PR dream, so the focus is, what marketers can learn from Miley Cyrus and her antics?

Having been literally surrounded by articles and press clippings – I can’t even chill out on a Saturday night and watch Chatty Man without seeing Miley Cyrus’ face – I started making a few notes on what was dubbed the Miley Cyrus train-wreck and started thinking what can marketers learn from Miley Cyrus? Take a look.

Never doubt the image you’re striving for

Image is everything to a brand. Get it wrong and it could break your brand instantly, with some costly repercussions and some even more costly (and needed) damage control.

Strangely though, I haven’t seen much (if any) damage control coming from Miley. While we’ve all been pre-occupied discussing how “weird” she is, how she’s “going off the rails”, “losing the plot”, or going to be “the next Britney break down”, did any of us give it a thought that perhaps this was the direction she wanted to head in all along? More on that thought later, but for now lets not forget this new ‘image’ had been brewing for a while.

Her video for ‘We Can’t Stop’ was released 3 months ago and though we were all shocked by her VMA performance, her image and attitude was on-par with the video. If anything she was exactly on-brand. Her performance is also supported by her highly talked about video for ‘Wrecking Ball’. It’s controversial, out-there and weird. On-par again.

5 things marketers can learn from Miley Cyrus

My point in this is that you need to know your brand inside out. Know exactly where you want to go, what direction you want to move and then create your image around this.

Be distinct

Moving back to my earlier point about this being the Miley Cyrus she always wanted to be, I’m going to start by saying that marketing is all about taking risks and gambles. Don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks in order to make your brand stand out and be distinctive.

In my eyes Jennifer Anniston will always be Rachel from Friends, despite all the films she’s done since. Perhaps such a drastic, controversial image was needed for Miley to break away from her happy go lucky, innocent, Disney life of Hannah Montana. If so, it worked! No longer is she ‘Miley Cyrus: girl who used to be Hannah Montata’, but ‘Miley Cyrus: the girl who outraged everyone at the VMAs’. Very un-Hannah Montana.

5 things marketers can learn from Miley Cyrus

The worst thing you can have is a brand in a saturated market, which just blends into the noise. Take brave risks if it’s going to help your brand move in the direction you want it to and stand out amongst the competition.

Be talked about

Whether you were shocked by her  VMA performance or not, you still continued to talk about Miley’s antics, making her the most talked about act at this years show – in fact three weeks later, people are still talking about her.

She was in headlines everywhere, on TV shows, radio stations, mentioned on every social media platform going and more blogs than you can count.

The top video for Lady Gaga’s VMA performance has received over 350,000 – a modest amount considering she stripped down to a shell bikini and thong. The top viewed video for JT’s 15 minute, NSync fueled reunion has pulled a over 1,200,000 views, however, Miley’s performance and twerking antics have pulled her an impressive 9,230,000 views.

5 things marketers can learn from Miley Cyrus

The saying goes “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” and whilst I don’t always believe that, you should definitely always endeavour to push your marketing efforts, be daring and get people talking. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools available to marketers, so make some noise and let people do the talking for you.

Be shareable

Probably unintentional by Miley (unless maybe she’s a marketing genius and it was all planned), is how easily and quickly her performance was shared around. She was trending on Twitter, she had hashtags, Vine spoofs have been created, YouTube videos have been uploaded again and again, she was on the front page of Reddit as well as practically every online publication going. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing her spandex clad arse.

Below is the latest Miley spoof created, for her video Wrecking Ball:

So whatever you do, make your marketing integrated. Have it work everywhere. My uni lecturers always said “an idea has to have legs”, meaning the idea has to be able to run; to move etc. So back up your efforts with social media, take photos, create videos, Vines, Snapchats, share it etc… Be everywhere you can that works for you and your brand.

Be strategic

I see it as no coincidence that Miley released her newest single ‘Wrecking Ball’, so close to the VMA’s. The upshot? Over 112,700,000 YouTube views for her video and debuted at number 13 on the billboard charts. She has also had spoofs of her video recreated on Vine, everyone’s talking about it.

Without her VMA performance she would have been just another Disney singer trying to make it big in the serious music world. There’s no way she’s have had the video views or download numbers she has right now, if she hadn’t been quite so outrageous, or if she’d had chosen to release a single further on down the line. Strike while the iron’s hot and all that.

So be clever and strategic about your marketing efforts. Think about dates, times of year and what else you can use to work to your advantage.

The gist of my 5 things marketers can learn from Miley Cyrus is to basically know your brand truly inside out and don’t be afraid to take risks if you think it’ll benefit the brand. Great marketing isn’t known for blending into all the other campaigns out there.

Let me know your thoughts about this post in the comments below, or tell me on Twitter! Thanks for reading.